Imperialism and Jewish Society by Seth Schwartz
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Imperialism and Jewish Society
By Seth Schwartz

Imperialism and Jewish Society

200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E.

By (author) See other recent books by Seth Schwartz
Format: Paperback

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Imperialism and Jewish Society by Seth Schwartz

Book Awards

  • Winner of Jewish Book Council National Jewish Book Award: Sephardic Studies 2002.

Book Description

This provocative new history of Palestinian Jewish society in antiquity marks the first comprehensive effort to gauge the effects of imperial domination on this people. Probing more than eight centuries of Persian, Greek, and Roman rule, Seth Schwartz reaches some startling conclusions--foremost among them that the Christianization of the Roman Empire generated the most fundamental features of medieval and modern Jewish life. Schwartz begins by arguing that the distinctiveness of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and early Roman periods was the product of generally prevailing imperial tolerance. From around 70 C.E. to the mid-fourth century, with failed revolts and the alluring cultural norms of the High Roman Empire, Judaism all but disintegrated. However, late in the Roman Empire, the Christianized state played a decisive role in "re-Judaizing" the Jews. The state gradually excluded them from society while supporting their leaders and recognizing their local communities. It was thus in Late Antiquity that the synagogue-centered community became prevalent among the Jews, that there re-emerged a distinctively Jewish art and literature--laying the foundations for Judaism as we know it today. Through masterful scholarship set in rich detail, this book challenges traditional views rooted in romantic notions about Jewish fortitude. Integrating material relics and literature while setting the Jews in their eastern Mediterranean context, it addresses the complex and varied consequences of imperialism on this vast period of Jewish history more ambitiously than ever before. Imperialism in Jewish Society will be widely read and much debated.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691117812
ISBN-10: 0691117810
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 12-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Seth Schwartz

Ancient Jews by Seth Schwartz Ancient Jews, Hardback (April 2014)

An accessible and up-to-date historical narrative with detailed thematic discussion of crucial historical changes.

Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society? by Seth Schwartz Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society?, Paperback (June 2012)

How well integrated were Jews in the Mediterranean society controlled by ancient Rome? This title explores Jewish social integration in the Roman world, one that poses challenging questions about the nature of Mediterranean culture.

» View all books by Seth Schwartz


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Author Biography - Seth Schwartz

Seth Schwartz is the Gerson D. Cohen Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He is the author of "Josephus and Judaean Politics" and coauthor, with Roger Bagnall, Alan Cameron, and Klaas Worp, of "Consuls of the Later Roman Empire".

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Ancient Jews by Seth Schwartz
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